Here's an interesting soccer riddle: is indoor soccer fast-paced fun, or just the fastest way to blowing out your knees?
Well, before your head explodes, you should probably read this article. Bruce Morgan, the trainer for the San Jose Earthquakes of the MLS, is about to address this issue, and for some of you indoor fanatics, it might be a wake-up call.
So, without further adieu, take it away Bruce:
"My answers to many indoor-soccer injury questions might get me into some trouble with the owner/operators of indoor soccer facilities nationwide.
"However, I feel duty bound to report the facts as I understand them. Before I, do please know that while the popularity of the indoor game has increased, research into its injuries and consequences remains scant.
"Having said that, the best available data suggests that where soccer injuries are concerned, the rates are higher for those competing indoor versus outdoor.
"When looking at injuries in general, it was the players 25 years of age and older, particularly men, who were most frequently affected.
"When broken down by gender, male players were more likely to suffer ankle sprains, while females had an increased rate of knee sprains.
"According to one study that group of females who were at greatest risk were those aged 16-18. Why this is so is not clearly understood and as a result warrants further investigation.
"Whether affecting males or females, the indoor game was responsible for more injuries in virtually every category. So why the difference? Those familiar with both games might point to the faster pace of indoor soccer.
"They might also suggest that the smaller, confined field make it ripe for collisions the leading cause of injury in the game. Less measurable, albeit often implicated, is the contribution that the artificial turf may make to the number and severity of injuries suffered.
"Accepting that each of these factors contribute to the game's injury rate, what can a player do to decrease their own risk of injury?
"Although injuries are, to some extent, an unavoidable consequence of sports participation, by observing the following recommendations it is possible to lessen their number:
- Do not join in on a whim. Your participation assumes that you are adequately fit and strong. This sport, like every other, places a physical demand upon the body. If your body is not properly prepared to meet this demand injury is the likely result.
- Participate in a league whose players perform on a similar skill level. Playing outside your skill level increases your risk of injury by asking you or your opponent to do more than you or they are capable of doing.
- Remembering that the majority of injuries are the result of collisions, you should attempt to join a league in which players are matched for size. While many, if not most, facilities make no accommodation for the height and weight of their players, the failure to do so increases the likelihood of injury.
- Select footwear that is appropriate for the surface on which you're performing. Inappropriate or ill-fitting footwear can actually contribute to injury particularly those involving the foot, ankle and knee.
Recreational sports by definition are meant to be enjoyed. Because injuries stand in the way of that enjoyment, thought must be given to their avoidance.
Adhering to the preceding recommendations will enhance your enjoyment of the activity by minimizing your risk of injury.